Antique Hatchel Hetchel Flax Comb Handmade Spinning with Flax Braid
This interesting Hatchel or Hetchel has fascinating history and was used throughout the 18th and 19th century's. It is accompanied with an authentic Flax braid and is included in this purchase. When the colonists arrived it was a law that they would have to plant at least one acre of flax on their land. A flax spinning wheel was used to produce linen.
A number of steps were taken to process the flax plant for spinning. First, the plant was "retted" or rotted then beaten or scraped to remove the outer skin. The fibers were pulled though a series of metal spiked brush ~ like tools know as "hatchels". The hatchel would remove the bits of skin, cut out the shorter fibers and align the longer ones for spinning.
This heckling comb or heckle is made up of long iron tapered nails driven into a piece of wood at regular spacing. This handmade piece is simple in form but very effective for getting the job done! Four Smithy forged nails were used to secure the elevated block of wood consisting of the nail bed, to it's counterpart as shown in image 3. There is a long metal strip located on the side surrounding the nail bed. This was overlapped as shown in image 9. There are over 100 nails and this is an approximate estimate as they do not line up well and are hard to count. All of the nails are accounted for and there are about five that wiggle but will not fall out.
The wood is just the best as the color is a deep nutmeg and there are several hairline cracks that are consistent with age. The corners and sides are well rounded from use. There is also a hole at the top so this piece can be hung and it is quite heavy.
What a great piece that would bring interest to a shaker peg rack hung with textiles and the like as shown in my first image. Just a wonderful handmade piece to own, laced with early history and comprised out of necessity by our ancestors. Enjoy!
Measurements are 17" Long, 5" Wide & 5" High including the nail height.
~Freight (Standard Mail) included, however Insurance is optional and can be purchased @ checkout ~ within the continental U.S.